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Petra, Jordan, often called the Rose City thanks to its pinkish stone, is one of the most impressive destinations in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage site dates back to around 300 BC, but wasn’t actually known to the Western world until a Swiss explorer discovered it around 1812. The ruins of the massive ancient city are surrounded by towering rock formations, caves and gorges that make for seriously Instagrammable shots.
The city is easily accessible from both Amman, Jordan’s capital city, and Israel. From Amman, it’s about a three- to four-hour drive. You can rent a car, get a driver or take a bus. It takes about the same amount of time to get to Petra from Israel too. There are many options for day tours that will take you to Petra from Israel, or you can do it on your own. Just make sure to check on visa and border regulations before going.
Entrance tickets are available at the visitors center in Wadi Musa, the town just outside of Petra. I was thrilled to see that you could actually get a 15% discount on entrance tickets (which weren’t cheap) if you show your Turkish Airlines tickets.
If you plan to stay overnight in Jordan for at least one night, it costs 50 JOD ($70) to enter Petra for one day, 55 JOD ($78) for two days and 60 JOD ($85) for three days. If you’re simply visiting for the day from Israel or Egypt, however, it will cost you 90 JOD ($127). Prices increase if you plan to hire a guide, and note that children under 12 can enter for free. If you happen to be a resident of Jordan, you can visit for just 1 JOD, which is only about $1.50.
Petra was much larger than I ever expected, but you can cover a lot of ground in a full day, or even a morning before it gets too hot. I highly recommend going beyond the Treasury (you may recall this iconic building from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and really getting out there.
I chose to hop (well, awkwardly climb) on a camel (yes, camel taxis are a thing) and was pretty excited when I was told that the camel guides accept credit cards. I was super tempted to pay with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card — I mean, camel taxis should be coded under travel for 3x per dollar, right? But I just paid in cash.
I recommend concentrating on not falling when you first get on a camel. I was, of course, trying to document my epic moment via Instagram, and almost sent my phone and myself flying — everything tilts when the camel stands up!
I had the best time with my dad exploring the amazing ruins of Petra. I really felt like Indiana Jones having an adventure: jumping around the rocks, admiring all the red sand, finding hidden rock carvings and tombs, and climbing stairs of the famous Monastery to see breathtaking views of the Jordanian desert.
The most dangerous situation you’ll likely encounter is dehydration from the intense sun and high temperatures, so make sure to bring enough water and sunblock and wear comfortable walking shoes. There were several places to buy water in Petra, so don’t panic if you forget.
After Petra, I highly recommend a trip to Wadi Rum and staying overnight in a bubble tent at the Wadi Rum Luxury Night Camp. After a long day of adventures in Petra, relaxing in my bubble to a night sky filled with stars was perfect.
Know before you go.
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